A “Penniless” America – Better Off?


The penny is probably the most patriotic piece of money in America. Featuring a favorite president of many, the copper coin is as American as apple pie. Unfortunately, however, recent studies show that the penny is declining in use.

In his February 17 article on cnn.com, Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University calls for the elimination of the penny. He points out that, statistically speaking, pennies are not worth the time it takes to fumble for them. Nevertheless, businesses pay out more pennies than they receive, so the demand continues, even though once they get into the hands of people, they tend to just sit around and collect dust.

President Obama thinks he has the answer to this problem. He recently asked Congress to change the mix of metal that goes into each penny to try to lower the 2.4 cents it currently takes to mint one penny. Whaples, however, is skeptical. “The bottom line,” he said, “is that even if pennies could be created out of thin air, the cost of our time would outweigh the gains from using the penny.” Sad, but true.

Homeschooling is another integral part of America that was once considered to be not worth the “trouble” it caused. Unlike the penny, however, homeschooling is growing. According to a September 2011 infographic by Course Hero, homeschooling has exploded in the last 30 years, growing by a whopping 919%.

Homeschooling is also anything but useless. Years of experience have proven that homeschooling is a highly successful education method, and more and more parents are choosing it every year. The penny may be on its way out, but homeschooling isn’t going anywhere.

What do you think? (about the penny or homeschooling, or both!)



About KaylaRose

I'm a writer and editor with a passion for effective communication. I also love reading, music, my family, and vanilla chai tea.
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7 Responses to A “Penniless” America – Better Off?

  1. Josiah Rice says:

    I think that the author John Green sufficiently sums up the issue in this video, and I agree whole-heartedly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77C47XYm_3c

  2. The title caught me because I thought that maybe they would someday decide to get rid of pennies altogether. All I can say is I hope not! I’m one of those poor college students that always pays in exact change just so I can save that extra dollar bill. Getting rid of pennies would be a major bummer in my world! As far as homeschooling goes, I cannot believe that it has grown 919% in the last 30 years. I would have thought that it would be getting less popular; I’m not sure why. I suppose that if it’s working for the families that have been doing it, other people are probably catching on! Great post; I thought all this information was super interesting. Thanks!

    • KaylaRose says:

      Thanks for your thoughts! I sympathize with your attachment to the penny (I have a hard time imagining America without them too!), but I also see the point this article is making. And if pennies were eliminated, prices would be adjusted to reflect this, so you could still pay with change. It would just be nickels instead of pennies.

  3. KAR says:

    I feel like people, the government, “they” have been talking about banishing the penny for quite some time, but it has never amounted to much. I’m inclined to think the same about this article. If the government was going to do something, why wouldn’t they have done it a long time ago? I had never thought of the penny being patriotic before, but now that you mention it, I think I agree with you. We love the penny. Sure, it’s annoying sometimes, but I feel that taking away the penny would rip from us part of our history–I think the journalist you referenced even suggested a penny museum. I understand, too, that it isn’t necessarily cost efficient for the government to make pennies and nickels, but I am sure that there are areas that would benefit from a little more applied frugality than saving a few cents on this proposal. Sheesh!

    • KaylaRose says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I also would have a hard time getting used to not having pennies around, but if the research is accurate it could be an ideal way to save money. As the video Josiah mentioned points out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77C47XYm_3c), the penny issue is non-partisan. While many budget issues are debated heavily by liberals and conservatives (meaning they usually don’t get anything done), this is one area that could be agreed upon!

      • KAR says:

        It would be really funny if the penny issue were a partisan issue. I wouldn’t put it past the two-party system, though…

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